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Agencies lifting fire safety restrictions across Arizona

(Facebook Photo/U.S. Forest Service - Prescott National Forest)

PHOENIX — Agencies across Arizona are lifting fire restrictions in forests and state land in the wake of cool and wet weather.

Prescott, Kaibab, Tonto and Coconino national forests, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, announced they would lift fire restrictions this week, starting with Coconino and Kaibab national forests on Tuesday and Prescott and Tonto national forests and BLM ending its restrictions Wednesday.

Fire restrictions in the three national forests were put in place on Aug. 14, after a dry monsoon across much of the state.

Coconino National Forest, south of Flagstaff, announced its fire restrictions were lifted, effective Tuesday, though certain portions of the forest have year-round fire restrictions.

Apache Sitgreaves National Forests in northeast Arizona also lifted restrictions Tuesday.

Kaibab National Forest, which is located south of the Grand Canyon near Williams, planned to reduce the closure at Bill Williams Mountain in coming days. The forest had already lifted fire restrictions.

The current restrictions within Prescott National Forest’s boundaries will be lifted at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Fire and shooting restrictions would also be lifted at the same time in the Tonto National Forest.

The Bureau of Land Management is also lifting fire restrictions on the public land it manages in Arizona on Wednesday.

The end of restrictions within Prescott National Forest comes five days after the U.S. Forest Service announced the Horse Fire, which burned 9,537 acres of land within the forest, was fully contained.

The Mangum Fire burned 71,450 acres inside the Kaibab National Forest between June 6 and July 7.

The Coconino National Forest’s biggest fire was the Pig Fire, which burned 500 acres in August.

There is still a chance for wildfire within the three forests, however, so caution is advised for those in the areas.

“A troubling amount of acres burned [this year],” Arizona Forestry spokeswoman Tiffany Davila told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Davila said 654,000 acres burned in around 2,300 fires.

The Forest Service recommends visitors reduce their fire risk by keeping fires to a manageable size, as well as not burning aerosol cans, pressurized containers, glass or aluminum cans and not leaving campfires unattended.

Visitors are advised to make sure their fire is fully extinguished by allowing wood to completely burn to ash if possible, or by pouring water on the fire to drown all embers.

Abandoned campfires are the leading cause of human-caused wildfires, according to the release.

Those who abandon their campfires are subject to fines and imprisonment, according to the release, with violators being held responsible if their campfire causes a wildfire.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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